Hamilton takes command in first Abu Dhabi practice

© F1 Pulse, 25 November 2016
© Daimler

Lewis Hamilton fired his hopes up for the title bid, even if just a little bit, after posting the fastest time in the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday.

The defending champion was a significant 0.374 second quicker than championship leader and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg around the Yas Marina circuit.

A race win alone on Sunday won't cut it for Hamilton as he would need at least two cars between himself and Rosberg to overcome the 12-point deficit with the Red Bull duo seemingly the only ones that could offer that prospect to the Briton, even if it's an outside chance.

Max Verstappen was promisingly only 0.054 seconds adrift of Rosberg while Daniel Ricciardo was just over a tenth behind the German.

Sebastian Vettel was fifth in the Ferrari, 1.1 seconds slower than Hamilton. Sergio Perez was sixth in his Force India followed by Kimi Raikkonen, Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr, Williams' Felipe Massa and Marcus Ericsson surprisingly tenth in the Sauber.

An uneventful and unrepresentative session saw Daniil Kvyat suffering a puncture and being forced to park his Toro Rosso early on. The Russian could only manage four laps as a result.

Later Massa and then Hamilton spun, minutes apart, as they entered Turn 6 with neither suffering any damage and carrying on.

Haas' Romain Grosjean continued his seemingly season-long trouble with his brakes as he twice ventured in the run off areas, the second occasion spinning at Turn 1 after his brake appeared to snatch launching the car into a half spin.

Justin King replaced Esteban Ocon while Alfonso Celis Jr stepped into Nico Hulkenberg's Force India for the session. The regular drivers will return in second practice, scheduled later in the day.

 

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